#1 – Five golfing destinations from around the region you need to check out
- Angkor Golf Course
Cambodia doesn’t strike us as South East Asia’s prime location for a golfing getaway, but the friendly managers and service staff at Angkor Golf Course toil endlessly every day to change that status. Situated in Siam Reap and designed by the one and only Sir Nick Faldo, Angkor Golf Course is an amazing 7279 yards of lush paspallum grass that will simultaneously enamour and challenge all levels of golfers.
Known for having absolutely pure and firmly shaped greens, Angkor Wat Golf course has become known for having a selection of spectacular par 4s and 5s. Don’t expect this course to be a walk in the park. Expect lots of sand and water as obstacles to every shot. Luckily, most of the caddies are extremely knowledgeable and speak fairly decent English.
Aesthetically, this course is a cut above. Each hole gets proceedingly more and more majestic, with many shots framed by lavish palm trees and flanked by sprawling sand bunkers. Expect a selection of interesting green geography, with a variety of shapes and sizes but with a general sense of playability.
- Bintan Lagoon Resort Golf Club
Weary of all the local courses but don’t really want the hassle of having to fly? Hop on a ferry to Bintan Lagoon Resort Golf Club for a quick day trip and enjoy their two wonderfully designed courses.
Designed by the Golden Bear himself, the Jack Nicklaus Sea View Golf Course provides one with a quintessentially American golfing experience. Noticeably less challenging than its European companion, the Jack Nicklaus Sea View is wide and open, with hazards placed on and around the fairway. The grass on the fairways is luscious and always kept well-manicured. Expect fast, evenly inclined greens without too many challenging slopes.
Fancy a challenge? The Ian Baker-Finch Woodlands Course is a whole new animal altogether. The Woodlands course (aptly named) was intentionally laid out over challenging, tough terrain specifically to tap onto aspects of Bintan’s unique topography. Narrow freeways with lots of foresting will put your driving precision to the test. Many of the greens and surrounded by mounds, sand bunkers and sloping to create a grand amphitheatre effect. Something special this course offers is that it offers five, yes five, different tee locations to cater to the specific skill of the golfer.
They also have a wide, spacious locker room so you get your shower in, have early cocktails at the 19th hole and still make the 6.30pm ferry back home.
- The Bluffs at Ho Thiam Strip
Designed by the legendary Greg Norman, the Bluffs Ho Tram Strip golf course is about a leisurely hour drive away Ho Chi Minh City. Situated on the lovely southern Vietnamese coastline, The Bluffs Ho Tram is a tough, gritty links-style par 72 course with a strong ocean breeze.
Built on loam soil, the course features lots of lush vegetation and excellent turf condition. This course is not for the easily frustrated! The erratic and powerful winds gives rise to a wild and chaotic golfing experience. We heard a few amusing stories from the caddies of incidents where golfers snapped their clubs and irons in half out of sheer frustration. As much as this is extreme challenge, it is equally visually enchanting and will delight any golfer that steps onto its fairways.
One of the most amazing sights will be on the signature 4th hole, where around 50 meters above sea level golfers are treated to a wonderful, panoramic view of the lush flora and fauna as well as the breathtaking Vietnam coast.
Don’t simply stop at the golf course! The Bluffs Ho Tram Strip has wonderful clubhouse facilities, with a golfing range, gym and training facilities to prepare yourself physically for the courses. With a 5-star hotel, more than a dozen restaurants serving a variety of cuisines and other entertainment outlets, The Bluffs have cemented themselves as a great regional getaway candidate.
- Bali National Golf Club
Located in the Maj Nusa Dua tourism complex, the Bali National Golf Course is a great seaside golfing destination, perfect if you want to get a few rounds of golf in during your family’s annual beach getaway. Only a short 20-minute drive away from Bali’s international airport, the Bali National Golf Club is unique for having three distinctly different playing environments as you ascend through the 18 holes.
For the first half of the journey, expect winding creeks, canyons and thick vegetation with its fair share of fauna and avian life that live in and around the course. Past the halfway point, the dense vegetation clears up and gives way to clear, smooth fairways with gentle slopes. Finally, the 17th hole is an island green, while the 18th is a lakeside hole which caps off the entire course with a nice challenging par 4.
With only a 20-minute drive through Bali Mandara toll road from Ngurah Rai Bali International Airport, Bali National Golf Club offers visitors to Bali a truly luxurious golfing experience with the redesigned Bali National Golf Club which has three distinct playing environments throughout the 18-hole course.
- SOUTHWOODS GOLF & COUNTRY CLUB, MANILA, PHILIPPINES
Arguably the grandest course in the Philippines, the Manila Southwoods features two Jack Nicklaus classic courses that pull no punches, regardless of golfer skill level. Not taking the time to study and analyse both courses before dying in would be foolhardy.
The Masters course is a mish-mash of breathtaking creek crossings and deep azure lakes that is a classic example of extracting the most out of a relatively small tract of land. Expect magnificent bunkering and landscaping between stands of eucalypts and vegetation. With its’ many beautiful and smooth greens, it’s a putting experience to die for. Featuring many short par threes and fours, your mid range game will be put to the test.
The Manila Southwoods Legends course is a delightful course with many outstanding holes, with an emphasis on strategic golfing architecture rarely seen in Asian courses. Remaining in great condition year round, it features rough and uneven textures, accentuated by undulating mounds and certain dog-legged holes. Known for being a test of power and accuracy, given the tough terrain and heavily tree-lined layout, the most recent restorations to the Legends course has restored some width to the course again. Give the course a try and expect many sandbelt styled holes, bunkering and slick putting surfaces.